Nobody works because of work alone.
We now live in a world, where more and more complex tasks require the true integration of people into something bigger than themselves.
What do I mean by that? I watched neuroscientist Gerald Hüther lecture: We have solved most “fundamental problems” and in order to solve even more complex unanswered questions, it takes more than one brain to achieve results. He basically concluded: we need to link brains together in order to achieve great results.
But our current school system breeds individuals that are not allowed to do real team work, until they are 18 years or older. Because if you were to work “as a team” in a math exam, your teacher is required to not let you pass. If you are “discovered” you are considered a cheater; a fraud. Here is your F back.
When I studied at the university of applied science, we had courses to learn team-work. However, most of the team-work efforts were still graded individually, which made for upset students. What if you land in a team with somebody that does not contribute in the same way you do? Or maybe you think they are not as smart as you. Well you complain to the professor, of course.
To achieve great communication and teamwork you have to let go of a part of your ego. This is something you have to practice everyday.
We are on our way to Mars; our world is getting more and more complex. Technology cuts our roots to nature and most of our interactions are digital. With any convenience that we achieve through technology, there is a part of set up and maintenance which naturally leads to an increased amount of specialized job categories.
Think of the huge amount of different categories of marketing that got established because of Internet-Technology: Email-Marketing, Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing. All of these have a complex underbelly in terms of technology, but also the implementation itself.
The biggest challenge for business leaders is no longer to be good in one category. Integrating team members and their highly specific categories of work with each other is what it takes today.
When you build a super-computer you put together a lot of powerful processors and other components. To form a super-team you have to synchronize a lot of sensitive components at the same time: your team members.
More complexity gives people tunnel vision and as a leader you need to make sure those views cross each other.
Now imagine: the email marketing manager and the content marketing writer do not like each other. Or the search engine guy has a depression or the social media person is a total over-achiever? Ask yourself: “How would I even know whats going on, if I don’t watch and listen what my staff is doing”
The corporate chicken coop sharpens your sense
To form a single-celled-organism into a multicellular organism, it requires new approaches to allow people to meet in other ways than just work-centered events. It does not require leaders that direct from the top to the bottom but leaders that are in the center of the playing field within their players.
Businesses are struggling to synchronize their young talent with senior staff. Digital Natives, Gen-X & Y, Millennials and Babyboomers all grew up differently.
The Corporate Chicken Coop is a concept that helps people reflect on human behavior without looking at people. The Corporate Chicken Coop becomes a mirror for the daily work of a team.
It creates a space where people have room to reflect on work processes, social interaction, work ethics and their overall approach to how they want to work together. It is a space where the formal order of your company's hierarchy is broken up and replaced by it’s own structure.
This program is for leaders – as well as for workers
I believe in the vision of a leader who wants to knows it’s employees. A guide who wants to know the character of it’s team members as well as the strengths and weaknesses.
Although it is clear as to why you would want to observe your “humans”. Let’s state the obvious anyways: Only by observing you can get to know them.
But when you see them interacting, they are usually in a professional setting which is the same as watching actors portraying their roles.
Of course you can find out a lot about your employees by seeing them at work, but you do not really know them unless you have seen them in an out-of-work context.
At work we need to guard ourselves. We play our role that is handed down to us in the form of a job description. Sometimes we are in a role of leadership, because of our technical knowledge, and not because of our competence to lead.
With a corporate chicken coop you are creating a unique space, that will allow people to show a different side to themselves. Maybe a more personal one, that is not in a stressed situation, because this person does not have responsibility hanging over their head in this moment.
Or maybe the opposite will develop with a more responsible task; more than the one we are used to seeing. You could discover young leadership potential by letting someone else lead the chicken coop team. Put formal leaders in a working role and let workers be leaders. It will be a learning experience for them all. Are you personally ready to step back and let others lead the way?
Of course you are technically still at work when you are in the chicken coop, but the experience of a chicken coop is going to be perceived in a different way than work is processed by your subconsciousness. It empowers leaders to engage with their subordinates on a personal level and vice versa.